Hyderabad: Some of the rowers from the 15-member Telangana team, which made the State proud by winning the recently concluded National Sub-juniors Rowing Championship in Pune, come from humble backgrounds.
Ten of the young rowers’ fathers are farmers while two of them are vegetable suppliers and another a water supplier. And, it was this team that brought home three gold, two silver and one bronze medal, emerging as champions.
One of them, B Hemalata, who comes from Shamirpet, won gold in the girls scull event. “She is a very talented rower. But, unfortunately she lost her father (B Bhaskar) a few months ago. He was a compounder, but with his sudden demise, her family has been struggling to make ends meet. Seeing her immense talent, the rowing federation decided to support her financially and she justified it with a fine performance at Pune,” veteran coach Ismail Baig, a Dronacharya awardee, said.
K Sai Ganesh, T N Hemanth, A Rakesh and T Karthik won gold in the boys coxless-four event. The first three rowers’ fathers are farmers while Karthik’s is a water supplier. K Anuradha and K Nandini clinched gold in the girls doubles scull event. Anuradha is from Kannayapalli thanda in Mahabubnagar district, while Nandini hails from Kollakallu village of Warangal district. Anuradha’s father is a contractor while Nandini’s is a farmer.
V Venkateshwara Rao, sports officer of Telangana Sports School in Hakimpet, felt the rural background, in fact, helps these young rowers because they believe in hard work and discipline. “They are focussed and committed to
their work. This helps them to succeed,” he said.
Baig further said young rowers such as Satish, Sai Raju and T Sunil Kumar won medals in international events. “Sai Raju won silver in the Asian senior meet, and Sunil too. Interestingly, based on their performances, they were recruited by the Army and the Navy. K Geetanjali, another promising rower, could join the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) police force,” he said.
According to Baig, Telangana rowers benefit because of the national camps held at Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad. “Rowing Federation president Rajlakshmi Singh Deo, ensured that the rowers are benefited from the national camps. With national coaches such as Jenil Krishnan, Amit Kumar, Satish Joshi and Manjit Singh being around, these rowers are making good use of their expert advice. The future holds good and we will see more such encouraging results,” he said.
FROM VILLAGES TO PODIUMS
The sudden demise of her father last year did not stop B Hemalatha from pursuing her promising career in rowing. The Telangana girl rowed away to glory in the recently concluded sub-junior National where she won gold in the girls singles scull event. “It was a tragic moment for our family. I was down, but luckily my coaches (VV Rao and Ismail Baig) lifted my spirits and asked me to continue with my career. Today, I feel happy that I won gold again in the nationals,” Hemalatha, from Shamirpet, said.
Hemalatha’s father was a Rural Medical Practitioner (RMP), but ever since he passed away, they hit rock-bottom financially. “It is difficult to make both ends meet. My mother is a housewife and so my elder sister Gayatri was forced to work as a saleswoman. We are financially strained. Luckily the federation is looking after my career,” said the 16-year-old.
Coach Ismail Baig said Hemalatha has the talent to blossom into a good international rower. “She won medals in all the nationals. She is an exciting prospect and therefore the federation decided to support her in all possible
ways,” he said.
Hemalatha took to rowing in 2015 and the next year she began to win medals. “This is my 12th nationals. I participated in seniors, juniors and sub-juniors. I won three bronzes in seniors, gold and bronze in juniors, and three gold in the sub-juniors. I like the challenges and I want to win honours in big events such as the Asian Games, World Championship and Olympics,” said Hemalata, who already took part in the World and Asian championships.
T Karthik, K Sai Ganesh, N Hemanth and A Rakesh
The boys’ Coxless team of T Karthik, K Sai Ganesh, N Hemanth and A Rakesh too belong to a humble background. Hailing from Bankarsingh thanda in Dornakal mandal of Mahabubabad district, Karthik’s father T Laxman supplies mineral water. “It is a struggle for us, but seeing my son’s performance, I think I should support him. I’m sure he will bring more glory to my village, the State and the country. I want him to achieve a lot in life,” said Laxman. Karthik won gold in Chennai last year and bronze in Kolkata. “I love challenges and we have a good team. We have good team spirit,” Karthik said.
Sai Ganesh’s father K Guruvaiah is a small-time agriculturist from Pothapally village of Mancherial district. “It is heartening to see my son win a gold medal in the nationals. Although we have financial problems, I would support him to bring more laurels,” said Guruvaiah. Ganesh was also part of the team that won gold in Chennai last year and repeated the feat this year.
Hemanth is from Kistapuram of Mahabubabad and his father N Srinivas is also a small-time farmer. So is Rakesh, whose father A Mallesh too is a farmer from Panchiplate, Kamanpur mandal of Peddapalli district.
K Anuradha and K Nandini
The two girls were a strong team in sculls and won the gold in the girls pairs event. Anuradha is a contractor from Kannaya Pally thanda on Koilkonda mandal of Mahabubnagar district, while Nandini’s father is a small-time farmer from Kollakallu village, Parvatagiri mandal of Warangal district. Coach Venkateshwar Rao was of the opinion that these two have great talent to excel in future events. Also to shine in this national was B Rajesh and G Ramakrishna, who clinched a silver medal in the boys pair event. Rajesh’s father B Narasaiah is a farmer from Anthakapaeta village of Siddipet district, while Ramakrishna’s father E Venkataiah also does farming from Chinnawarual village of Gandeed mandal of Mahabubnagar district.
Ch Sravan Kumar and K Gnaneshwar
The second silver medal was won by Ch Sravan Kumar and K Gnaneshwar in the doubles scull event. Sravan’s father Ch Anjiaiah is a sarpanch of Bomreddypalli village in Kulakcharala mandal, Vikrababad district, while Gnaneshwar’s father K Srinivas sells vegetables in Jadcherla village of Mahabubnagar district. This success story of these rowers from humble rural backgrounds could inspire many more young athletes to take to sports. Venkateshwara Rao said rowing brought results, which can inspire more children to take up the sport.